“The Smiling Country is about a footloose puncher who finds out the hard way that cowboys don't remain young forever and that the inevitable wear and tear of a rugged life forces changes and compromises on the willing and unwilling alike.”— Elmer Kelton
Hewey Calloway did not know how old he was without stopping to figure, and that distracted his attention from matters of real importance.
Elmer Kelton introduced Texas cowboy Hewey Calloway, one of the most beloved characters in Western fiction, almost thirty years ago in The Good Old Boys. The novel was transformed into a memorable 1995 TV film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Sissy Spacek.
Hewey returns in The Smiling Country. It is 1910 and his freewheeling life is coming to an end—the fences, trucks, and automobiles he hates are creeping in even to remote Alpine, in the “smiling country” of West Texas. When he is badly injured trying to break a renegade horse, Hewey sees the loneliness that awaits him, and regrets his decision to run away from the only woman he has ever loved, the schoolteacher Spring Renfro.
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Elmer Kelton, author of more than forty novels, grew up on a ranch near Crane, Texas, and earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas. His first novel, Hot Iron, was published in 1956. For forty-two years he had a parallel career in agricultural journalism.Among his awards have been seven Spurs from Western Writers of America and four Western Heritage awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Among his best-known works have been The Time It Never Rained and The Good Old Boys, the latter made into a television film starring Tommy Lee Jones.He served in the infantry in World War II. He and his wife, Ann, a native of Austria, live in San Angelo, Texas. They have three children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.